CULTURE DIGEST: Biola president apologizes to pro-lifers, affirms sanctity of life at univ.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Biola University's president has apologized publicly for the school's treatment of a pro-life student and has outlined a plan to strengthen the Christian school's longstanding commitment to the sanctity of human life.
Biola President Barry Corey issued an open apology to pro-lifers Aug. 20, saying the La Mirada, Calif., school committed "missteps" in its response to senior nursing student Diana Jimenez and her participation in displaying on campus graphic images of aborted babies.
After Jimenez showed a graphic photo a second time, a Biola administration official threatened to ban her from her graduation and the campus if she committed a third such infraction, according to pro-life blogger Jill Stanek. The school's dean of nursing subsequently ordered faculty in the department not to write employment letters of reference for Jimenez.
"For actions on our part that were perceived to be heavy-handed and retaliatory, I have apologized to [Jimenez] and stand by this apology publicly," Corey wrote in his open letter. "I acknowledge and regret our errors, and steps have been taken to correct them."
He said, "In so many ways, Diana is the kind of student with the deep Christian convictions I hoped to see when I came to Biola six years ago. In her convictions about saving the unborn, she represents what Biola is about -- the desire to speak up against injustices that break the heart of God. Like Diana, Biola is and has been passionately pro-life."
Among the ways the school will reaffirm its pro-life position, Corey said, are:
-- He will communicate in September through the school newspaper and other means Biola's "current and historic position on the sanctity of life as well as provide a context for the important nature of showing disturbing images portraying victims of injustice."
-- Biola will hold a pro-life chapel in which invited speakers "will demonstrate the use of images compassionately, ethically and effectively."
-- The school will change its curricula to make certain "each student graduating from Biola understands and can articulate the biblical message of the sanctity of human life, so that students demonstrate these values in their own communities."
The presidents of three pro-life organizations welcomed Corey's letter.
"President Corey has confessed Biola's wrongdoing in a humble, frank, and commendable way. And his letter demonstrates the fruit of repentance," said John Ensor of PassionLife Ministries, Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute and Marc Newman of Speaker for Life.
"Because of these extraordinary and unprecedented steps, we believe Biola deserves the whole-hearted support of the pro-life community," they wrote in an Aug. 21 letter.
Biola's statement of faith affirms the sanctity of human life. The school is a party to a lawsuit against the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate, which requires employers to pay for coverage of contraceptives, including ones that can cause abortions.
First combined birthing center-abortion clinic to open
Buffalo, N.Y., will be the home in November of what is apparently the country's first birthing center combined with an abortion clinic.
The decision of the abortion clinic, Womenservices, to make room in its building for the birthing center prompted divergent reactions from two female pro-life advocates, The Buffalo News reported Aug. 24.
"It's absolutely ludicrous that those who specialize in taking life claim they are qualified to help women give birth," said Stasia Zoladz Vogel, president of the Buffalo Regional Right to Life Committee.
"For anyone to entrust the birth of their child to a business that specializes in ending the life of infants in the womb is foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst."
Karen Swallow Prior, a former Buffalo resident who is chair of the Liberty University English and modern languages department, said the idea of a combined birthing center-abortion clinic seemed "strange" at first.
"I asked myself, what's the downside? I don't see one," she said. "There is a lot more to be gained than lost from this arrangement.
"We should welcome any place that cultivates the life-affirming choice of birth. This is about choosing life, and that is positive."
Birthing centers, which are gaining in popularity, take a different approach than hospitals. They use alternatives to drugs for pain control and refuse to induce labor, according to The News. Supporters of the centers say they are less expensive and perform fewer Cesarean sections.
Calif. bill permitting non-doctors to do abortions advances
California is a step nearer to enabling non-doctors to perform abortions.
The state Senate approved in a 25-11 vote Aug. 26 a bill that would make it legal for physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives to do abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The bill must return to the state Assembly for another vote, since the Senate amended a version passed earlier in the other house, according to The Bee. If the Assembly approves the Senate-passed version, it will go to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The legislation's supporters, all Democrats, said the measure is needed because women in some parts of California must travel long distances to find a doctor who performs abortions, The Bee reported. Opponents, primarily Republicans, said the bill increases health risks for women.
Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen called the proposal "a leveling down of health care for women. The individuals here do not have the training, do not have the experience ... that doctors do."
Pa. woman kills newborn son in sports bar restroom
Authorities have charged a Pennsylvania woman with criminal homicide for killing her newborn son after his birth in a sports bar restroom.
Amanda Hein, 26, of Allentown could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering her baby, whom she gave birth to Aug. 18 when she went to the restroom during a pay-per-view wrestling event at a bar about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, The Evening-Times of Easton, Pa., reported.
Hein returned to a booth she shared with three friends, who were unaware of her pregnancy or the birth, and watched the WWE SummerSlam for another hour, according to the report.
Hein was in the late third trimester of her pregnancy, and her baby boy was healthy, County Coroner Zachary Lysek said. His office ruled the child's death was by suffocation. Hein told police she wrapped her son in a plastic bag from a trash can in the restroom and placed him in the toilet tank, The Evening-Times reported.
Parents who do not plan to rear a newborn may leave their child in the care of any Pennsylvania hospital without questions being asked, Lysek said.
N.C. abortion clinic closes
One of three North Carolina abortion clinics shut down earlier this year by the state has apparently closed its doors for good.
John Baker, owner of The Baker Clinic for Women in Durham, voluntarily surrendered his certificate of operation Aug. 21, according to The Durham Herald-Sun. The state's Department of Health and Human Services discontinued the certificate in July, but Baker said he hoped to correct the problems and resume operation.
The department said a survey of the clinic showed it failed to provide adequate quality control of blood banking for 108 patients, The Herald-Sun reported.
Two other North Carolina abortion centers -- Femcare Inc. in Asheville and A Preferred Women's Health Center in Charlotte -- have reopened after having their certificates suspended earlier this year by the department, the newspaper reported.
Compiled by Washington bureau chief Tom Strode. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).